Why Every Woman Needs to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

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Ladies, we need one another. It’s been said that “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” I don’t know where I’d be without my girlfriends. As much as I love my husband and my daughters, I crave alone time with my friends.

As everyone uses February as an excuse to celebrate the ones the love, I absolutely have to include my girlfriends. I love having a special opportunity to celebrate our friendship – now commonly referred to as Galentine’s Day. If you are not familiar with Galentine’s Day, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite holiday.

Why All the Hype Around Galentine’s Day

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Galentine’s Day was officially coined by the character Leslie Knope on the television show “Parks and Recreation,” which was celebrated on February 13th (the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day). The character on the show proclaims:

"Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies."

However, even if you are not a fan of the show, you can still celebrate the holiday. Trust us. Galentine’s Day is officially becoming a thing – even Martha Stewart and Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP feature articles on how to throw a Galentine’s Day party.

5 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate with Your Favorite Gal Pals

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For those of us who don’t have the time to pull off a Martha Stewart or Gwyneth Paltrow level soiree for Galentine’s Day, I’ve come up with five things you can do to celebrate the most important women in your life. The ultimate goal is to have fun and celebrate your friendships.

1. A Simple Party at Home

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Kick your husband and kids out of the house and host a simple brunch or dinner party for your besties. Choose your favorite foods and make a signature cocktail. You know your crew better than anyone else, so do whatever makes you all happy and relaxed.

2. Enjoy Some Pampering at the Spa

Nothing screams Galentine’s Day as much as getting mani’s and pedi’s with your gal pals. Book appointments for your nearest and dearest in advance and enjoy some pampering at your favorite spa or nail salon.

3. Head to Your Favorite Restaurant

If you don’t want to cook or clean, opt for making a reservation for your group of ladies at one of your favorite restaurants. Just make sure it is a grown-up spot – one you would not usually go to with the kids.

4. Go On a Treat Yo’ Self Shopping Adventure

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If your girlfriends love to shop as much as mine, then a shopping trip may be the perfect treat for Galentine’s Day. Empty the trunk and head to your favorite shopping spots. Then, shop ‘til you drop (and fill up those trunks!)

5. Indulge in a Wine Tasting

For the wine lovers, leave the family at home and head to a winery with your closest female friends. If there isn’t a winery nearby, you can host a wine tasting in your home either on your own or with he help of a company like Traveling Vineyard.

7 Things Your Man Actually Wants This Valentine’s Day

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Let’s be honest, ladies. Valentine’s Day is really for us. Most men will claim they don’t even want anything at all for Valentine’s Day. But, since Valentine’s Day is the quintessential couples’ holiday, it just feels wrong not to give the man you love something special.

Ultimately, your guy just wants you to show that you love him. How you choose to show him that he still makes your heart beat fast is all up to you, but you can’t go wrong with any of these 7 gifts.

A Day Off

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All men want a day off from everything and everyone now and then. As adults, it is harder than ever to get away from it all. If your man is always busy at work and then coming home to complete a honey-do list around the house, give a coupon for a day off. It will show him you love him and appreciate how hard he works.

A Good Meal Cooked by You

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A fancy dinner out is always nice, but most men will be just as happy (maybe even more so) with a home cooked meal. Choose to cook his favorite dishes or order a meal kit from Hello Fresh.

Beer, Wine, Whiskey

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A man will never scoff at his lady gifting him his favorite spirit. Just be sure you splurge on something nicer than what he normally buys. He will be impressed with your knowledge of his tastes and your willingness to spoil him.

Tickets to a Sports Game or Comedy Show

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Look for tickets to an upcoming show that he will love – even if it doesn’t take place on Valentine’s Day. Giving him tickets to see his favorite team play or hear his favorite comedian live will be an experience he will never forget.

His Favorite Sweet Treat

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A way to a man’s heart is his belly – even in small doses. Your man will know you love him if you give him his favorite sweet treat such as baking his favorite cake or showing up with doughnuts from his favorite shop.

A Love Letter

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Women are often the ones on the receiving end of love letters, but men love them just as much. Your husband will be overcome with emotion as he receives a beautifully written love letter from his wife. Take time to be sure your letter is full of compliments, affirmations, and funny inside jokes. It will be a gift he never throws away and rereads year after year.

S-E-X

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Come on, you know I had to say it. What your man wants the most is some alone time with you in between the sheets! Honestly, you don’t even have to give him a gift if you turn up the heat in the bedroom.

So, ladies, what do you plan to give your man this Valentine’s Day? Is there a gift you have given your husband that he loved? Let me know in the comments.

10 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Kids

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. While Valentine’s Day is typically a celebration for couples, it provides parents with a special chance to show their children how much they love them. Since it seems like my girls were just bombarded with gifts at Christmas, I try not to overwhelm them with gifts at Valentine’s Day. Instead, I look for ways to show them how much I love them without giving them one more stuffed animal.

Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with kids:

1. Tell Your Love Story

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My daughters love to hear about how mommy and daddy fell in love. This is such a simple thing to do, but it is also a special way to teach kids about loving relationships.

2. Add a Heart to Their Door Each Day

Rather than celebrating only on February 14th, I like to look for ways to celebrate all month long. One thing I’ve come across online is adding paper hearts to your child’s door each day with a brief compliment or expression of your love. By the end of February, their actual hearts will be full of love.

3. Write Messages on Mirrors

Similarly, make a point of surprising your kids with a sweet message on the mirror. Just writing “You are so beautiful!” or “I love your smile!” will go a long way in building your child’s self-confidence.

4. Take Your Child on a Date

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Daddy-daughter dates are all the rage, but I don’t think this is something just for dads and daughters. I think parents should always strive to spend some quality time alone with each child now and then. For example, I like to take each daughter out for a special mom-daughter date to get our nails done.

5. Treat them to a Grown-Up Meal at Home

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Your kids will feel so special if you treat them to a special grown-up meal at home like breakfast in bed or a fancy dinner complete with candles. Whenever I do something like this, my girls feel so grown!

6. Put Love Notes in Their Lunchboxes

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I always try to leave a little note in my daughter’s lunch boxes, but for February, I am focusing on writing notes that tell them all the reasons I love them.

7. Make Heart Shaped Pancakes

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Embrace the hearts and all Valentine’s Day themed baking supplies. Simply having heart shaped pancakes or eating a cupcake decorated with hearts will make the holiday feel more special.

8. Snuggle and Read Books About Love

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Life gets busy, so it is important to find little moments when you simply snuggle with your little loves. Grab a warm blanket, a book about love, and snuggle up close.

9. Eat a Red-Themed Dinner

Create a meal that corresponds to the Valentine’s Day color palette. Choose red and pink foods and watch as your kids giggle and eat every bite on their plates.

10. Go on a Valentine’s Day Themed Scavenger Hunt

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Put together a simple scavenger hunt around your home with paper hearts and clues. It is up to you to decide what treasure the hunt will lead to, but in our house, I’m leaning towards chocolate.

How to Make the Most of Your Christmas Morning

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Christmas brings out the crazy in the best of us. That’s why this year I have a plan. I want Christmas morning to be magical and memorable – and I want those memories to be good ones! Since having my girls, I have come to realize that you can’t prevent chaos, but you can do little things to make these special days more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are my tips for making the most of your Christmas morning:

Enjoy the Alone Time with Your Spouse Christmas Eve

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the night before when mom and dad magically become Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Yes, building toys can be super annoying, but I do enjoy the quiet time in the evening with my man drinking wine and anticipating the joy on our girl’s faces the next day.

Prepare Breakfast Ahead of Time

All the Christmas morning fun is always followed by breakfast. But who wants to cook an elaborate meal on Christmas morning? No one! Instead, plan breakfast ahead of time. Choose to go with something simple that only has to be reheated (or served cold) or cook a breakfast casserole overnight in a slow cooker.

Having Your Morning Beverage Supplies Ready to Go

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Opening presents requires a grown-up beverage. If you are a serious coffee drinker, have your special Christmas coffee supplies ready to go. Better yet, program the coffee maker in advance. If you prefer hot chocolate, have supplies to make it extra Christmas-y. For a celebratory beverage, have supplies on hand for Christmas morning mimosas.

Wrap a Giant Box for Trash

Unwrapping presents in a hurry leads to a giant mass of wrapping paper and trash. You can avoid having to clean up afterward by simply designating one large box as your trash box. But you can also step it up by wrapping the outside of this box. This way instead of having trash or a garbage bag in all your pictures, you will have an elegantly wrapped festive box.

Don’t Forget Batteries and Scissors

When it comes to children, it is impossible to survive the present opening fun without having batteries and scissors. There is going to be a present your kid has to open immediately – hence the scissors. And there is always at least one present that requires batteries.

Wear Cozy Pajamas

Now, it’s time for bed. Put on your coziest (and cutest) pajamas. Get as much sleep as possible and be prepared to roll out of bed ready to go. Just don’t forget to wash your face and brush your hair quickly. You’ll thank me when your husband snaps a pic of you unwrapping a gift.

Don’t Expect Perfection

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When it comes to Christmas morning, a lot of women have high expectations. We dream of Pinterest-perfect, insta-worthy Christmas mornings. But, here’s your reality check – it will not be perfect. Go ahead and accept this fact and embrace Christmas morning for all its perfect and imperfect moments.

Spend Time with the One's You Love

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Everyone’s Christmas Day looks differently, but it is important to spend time with the ones you love. Even if you do not have plans to be with all your loved ones on Christmas Day, make a point to speak to them on the phone (or better yet, video chat).

If you know of any other tips to help Christmas morning be more magical and less frantic, let me know in the comments. Merry Christmas!

Better-for-You Holiday Entertaining Tips and Recipes with Almond Breeze

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The holidays are coming! Are you ready?

I feel more prepared than ever before thanks to a special event I recently attended sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze – the Blue Diamond Holiday House. With Thanksgiving fast approaching and Christmas right around the corner, I was delighted to attend an event designed to help attendees plan festive, merry, and better-for-you holiday events themselves. And, they succeeded!

I left the Blue Diamond Holiday House with tons of Thanksgiving and Christmas entertaining tips and plenty of inspiration for insta-worthy memories. As we look towards the upcoming holiday rush, I am here today to share all the holiday entertaining tips I gleaned from Blue Diamond that you can easily incorporate into your holiday meals and parties.

My Visit to the Festive Blue Diamond Holiday House

Walking into the Blue Diamond Holiday House thrust me headfirst into the merriment of this special time of year. The event space was beautifully decorated with multiple Christmas trees, and simple but elegant décor. The tablescapes were to die for. The food spreads were elaborate and tasty. And, the Almond Breeze Almondmilk beverages added to the holiday cheer.

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What’s not to love? Blue Diamond did a fabulous job of showing how to create festive meals using their almond-based products. But, unlike some events I attend where it is just pretty to look at and something I would not dream of recreating, this was different. I left feeling inspired and ready to create beautiful and better-for-you holiday memories with my family.

Why This Event Has Me Ready to Ring in the Most Wonderful Time of Year

The Blue Diamond Holiday House nailed it when it comes to entertaining inspiration. The various tablescapes were beautiful, and ones that would be relatively easy to recreate. Ultimately, when it comes to holiday meal planning, a big part of what makes the meal from different from every other meal you eat around the table is the décor. The event showed how to pull it all together. Plus, as an Instagram-lover, I could envision insta-worthy shots in my own home using their tablescape inspiration.

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Plus, I learned that I can plan a holiday meal that is both tasty and better-for-you. With family and friends who have dietary restrictions and unique food preferences, it can be challenging to design a menu that will make everyone happy. This event showed me this is not the case! By using Almond Breeze Almondmilk, I can plan a menu that everyone can eat and enjoy.

How I am Using Almond Breeze to Create Better-for-You Holiday Memories

While I certainly walked away from this special event with loads of entertaining tips, I am most delighted to share all the things I learned about how to use Almond Breeze Almondmilk to create better-for-you holiday memories.

We all know the holidays involve a lot of socializing and eating. However, most of that eating is not so good for you. Between the desserts and drinks, it is no surprise that many people pack on the pounds over the holidays. But the holidays are a time when we should get to indulge a little bit! That’s why I was so happy to discover I can use Almond Breeze Almondmilk and enjoy the same tasty holiday treats without the guilt.

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First things first, I plan to stock my pantry with Blue Diamond shelf-stable Almond Breeze Almondmilk. This means that not only will I have what I need on hand whenever the mood for a holiday treat crosses my mind, but I will also be prepared if a holiday visitor with dietary restrictions joins us for a meal.

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Next, I plan on eating and drinking all the holiday treats I usually feel guilty for indulging in without the guilt! By substituting Almond Breeze Almondmilk, I can indulge without fear. My belly won’t bloat, and my scale won’t start to tip. Even better, I can rest easy knowing I am making better-for-you choices for my family as we gather around the table.

And, gather around the table is just what I plan to do! The holidays are best spent with the ones you love, sharing food, and making memories. I can’t wait to bake holiday cookies with my daughters and eat them together around a table as we ring in the holiday season and the new year.

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Ways to Use Almond Breeze to Make Delicious Better-for-You Holiday Treats

While Almond Breeze Almondmilk can be used to make a ton of delicious treats, I am just going to share with you some of my favorite ways to use it. By playing it smart with Almond Breeze Almondmilk, I can enjoy all these treats guilt-free (and so can you!).

Eggnog Made with Almond Breeze Almondmilk

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 Eggnog is one of my family’s favorite holiday indulgences, but it is not the lowest calorie drink to guzzle. A better option is to make eggnog using almond milk. This recipe has been adapted from Dave Zinczenko at ABC News.

Ingredients:

  • 40 fl oz Almond Breeze Almondmilk

  • 6 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  • Crack and open 6 eggs. Place in a bowl.

  • Whisk together almond milk and spices in a medium-sized saucepan.

  • Heat the liquid over medium-high heat for approximately five minutes or until steam appears. Whisk occasionally.

  • Slowly (very slowly) pour ½ cup increments of the heated liquid into the egg bowl. Do not pour it too fast or it will cook the eggs rather than combining. Whisk to combine.

NOTE: If you are in a rush, Blue Diamond also makes Almond Breeze Almondmilk Nog. Hooray!

Holiday Sugar Cookies with Almond Breeze Almondmilk

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Holiday sugar cookies are the best! Not only are they tasty, but it is also a fun tradition to make them with my kids. Fortunately, by using Almond Breeze Almondmilk, I don’t have to worry about my family eating too many over the holiday season. This recipe comes from Blue Diamond.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening

  • 1½ cups sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. baking powder

  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar

  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. Almond Breeze Original Almondmilk; divided

  • Decorator sugar or sprinkles

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • ¾ cup vegetable shortening

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. Almond Breeze Vanilla Almondmilk

  • Food coloring

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with wax paper.

  • In a large bowl, beat 1 cup shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy, scraping sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and cream of tartar. Mix on low speed until well mixed. Add 2 tablespoons of the almond milk and beat until smooth.

  • Form into 1¼” balls, using rounded tablespoonfuls of dough. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Spray flat bottom of measuring cup or drinking glass with cooking spray; dip in sugar. Press each cookie flat, dipping into sugar every other time.

  • If desired, lightly brush tops of cookies with remaining almond milk and sprinkle with colored decorator sugar or sprinkles or leave plain and frost when cooled.

  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove to cooling racks.

  • In a large bowl, beat powdered sugar, ¾ cup shortening, vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the almond milk with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, adding almond milk for desired spreading consistency. Tint as desired with food coloring.

Plus, it is a better-for-you option alongside that morning coffee

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Finally, I have discovered the joy of using Almond Breeze Almondmilk instead of creamer for my coffee. During the busy holiday season, I need all the coffee I can get. Now, I can still enjoy a rich and delicious coffee without all the dairy creamer I usually add. Now I wish that Almond Breeze would come out with a coffee creamer that would be the perfect complement to my morning cup.

Stock your pantry with Blue Diamond products to prepare for a merry and festive holiday season!

10 Festive Christmas Dates for Couples in New York City

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During the busy holiday season, I think it is super important to spend time with my husband. It is too easy to get caught up in all the holiday busyness and stuff with my girls before I realize I haven’t had any good quality time with my man. Plus, the holiday season is romantic – why not take advantage of the added twinkling lights this time of year? I’ve gathered up ten wonderful Christmas date ideas for couples in NYC that will have you hunting for places to kiss under the mistletoe.

Go Ice Skating

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There are several places to go ice skating in New York, but my favorite place to go ice skating this time of year is The Rink at Rockefeller Center below the giant Christmas tree. Yes, it is a tourist trap, but that just means it is perfect for people-watching!

Shop Til You Drop

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Christmas means shopping. Why not turn one of your favorite activities into a date with the one you love? You both have to buy gifts for the people in your life, so enjoy spending time together while you check off your lists.

Marvel at the Holiday Window Displays

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If your man claims he hates shopping, then take him window shopping instead. Trust me – this is a date you both will love. The holiday window displays at New York City stores is something to see. Take your time to hold hands through the city streets and talk about which holiday window displays are your favorites.

Watch a Broadway Show

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For theater-lovers, there is always a show to see in NYC. These make some of the best date nights because you get to experience it together.

Enjoy Holiday Menus at Restaurants

Dinner dates are always my favorite types of dates, but I love them, even more, come Christmas time. Why? Well, many restaurants in New York City rollout special holiday menus so you and your date can try new dishes and holiday-themed drinks.

Cheer at a Basketball Game

If you are a basketball fan, a date to cheer on the New York Knicks is a must. While the weather outside is frigid, the atmosphere in the arena is on fire!

Play Like a Kid at FAO Schwartz

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Yes, you are a grown up. But, I promise you, something amazing happens to adults when they visit FAO Schwartz! You become a kid again! Let go of some of your holiday stress by trying out toys with your guy and shopping for the little people in your life.

Tour Dyker Heights

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

For a truly festive date, take a tour of the Christmas lights in the affluent Dyker Heights neighborhood. This neighborhood goes all out with illuminating their homes – some even hire professional light decorators! If you want to do it right, take the Slice of Brooklyn Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tour.

Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art

During the Christmas season, the Metropolitan Museum of Art adds some festive art to the museum. For those who love to explore museums for date night, this one is a must. In addition to beautiful Christmas trees, you will also see an eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene.

Take a Carriage Ride in Central Park

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Those of you looking for romance straight from the tv screen, look no further than the carriage rides offered in Central Park. Cuddle under a warm blanket, drink a hot beverage, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city during this special time of year.

What to Do in NYC as a Family this Holiday Season

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While there are always plenty of things for families to do in New York City, the holiday season ramps up the fun. The city comes alive even more and making it feel like NYC its truly the best place to be for the “most wonderful time of the year.” Each year, I try to plan out things to do with my family to celebrate Christmas in NYC. Here are my picks for 2018:

Shop at American Girl Place

My daughters have hit the age where American Girl dolls are all they want. Thankfully, there is an American Girl Place in NYC. If you have not visited the store before, it is a whole experience in and of itself. Visiting the store with my girls this time of year also helps me check something off Santa’s list.

Watch the Nutcracker Ballet

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

It is a tradition to take in a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet. All whole family loves watching The Nutcracker, and New York City Ballet has the best of the best.

Observe the Trains at the Botanical Garden

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is a city tradition that my family always enjoys. This train display is unique because it travels around over 175 New York landmarks.

Make a Wish List by Visiting FAO Schwarz

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

FAO Schwarz has newly reopened, so we are so excited to go visit this famous toy store. Not only will our girls get to make their Christmas wish lists, we will get to see first-hand the toys they really gravitate to making our Christmas shopping easier.

Marvel at the Gingerbread House in Madison Square Park

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Making gingerbread houses is fun, but seeing a life-size gingerbread house is even better! Head to Madison Square Park to see those giant gingerbread houses.

See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Another New York City tradition is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes – and for good reason! It is such a fun show to see as a family! We look forward to it every year.

Go Ice Skating

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Throughout New York, there are several ice skating rinks. The most popular is the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. In addition to being iconic, it is also one of the most Christmas-y spots in the city.

Have Holiday Tea at the Plaza

If your kids have read the children’s book Eloise, the holidays are the perfect time to visit the Plaza Hotel and experience Eloise’s life in the hotel. In addition to holiday tea, they also have a cute setup for kids to write letters to Santa.

Visit Santa at Macy’s

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The most popular place to visit Santa is Macy’s. Everyone should visit the iconic (and giant) Macy’s Santaland with their children at least once.

Search for the Best Hot Chocolate

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While you trek around NYC in the cold weather, search for the best hot chocolate. While Serendipity 3 is the most well-known frozen hot chocolate spot, you are bound to find some others that serve warm delicious chocolate-y goodness in a cup.

Which Christmas Festivities Does Your Family Most Enjoy in NYC?

Where to Shop This Black Friday - WINNER ANNOUNCED!

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While Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you have, Black Friday is all about shopping for what you don’t have. For those who love to shop as much as I do, Black Friday is our true holiday! It is a day when the rush of shopping is celebrated – and no one bats an eye when you walk around carrying tons of shopping bags. Shopping mavens, rejoice!

To help guide all my fellow Black Friday competitive shoppers, I am highlighting my picks for the best places to find great deals on Black Friday.

The Best Places to Find Deep Discounts

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First, let’s tackle the staples in the industry. You want to head to the department stores offering the biggest discounts. According to Wallet Hub, the store offering the steepest discounts is Belk. Belk has a 2018 average discount of 68.9 percent off regular prices. Kohl’s and Macy’s department store are also in their top ten list. Also, you can expect to find great discounts (and big crowds) at Walmart, Target and Old Navy.

Where to Shop in Your Pajamas

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For those of you who do not enjoy the Black Friday frenzy or the large crowds, you can find excellent Black Friday deals online. Even better, many of the major online stores (such as Amazon and Walmart) are offering free Christmas shipping or competitively low shipping costs. You will find the best shopping deals on Amazon and Walmart with Best Buy rounding out the group.

Be aware that online sites will run specials beginning at certain times similarly to actual storefronts. If you know an online retailer will drop the price of an item you have to have, then you might want to set up a notification or alarm. For instance, Amazon will run lightning deals for certain products which will likely sell out in a matter of minutes.

If You Want to Shop in NYC, Here’s Where You Should Go

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For those of us who call NYC home or those who will be visiting the city that never sleeps over Thanksgiving, you can head to high-end retail stores to find exceptional Black Friday sales beginning on Thanksgiving. Macy’s Herald Square will be open from 5 pm – 2 am on Thanksgiving, and it will reopen on Black Friday at 6 am. Saks Off Fifth and Bloomingdale’s will also have offer Black Friday deals. If you want to finish your Christmas shopping all in one upscale place, head to Brookfield Place luxury mall.

I’m Going to Make One Reader’s Christmas Wish Come True!

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While you are spending your Black Friday shopping for those you love, I want to do something special for one lucky reader. What do you want for Christmas this year? Tell me in the comments of this blog. I will choose one commenter and send her what she wished for! It’s really that simple.

So, what are you waiting for? Tell me what you want this Christmas below. I will choose the lucky Christmas wish winner after Black Friday and send the present her way.

UPDATE: THANK YOU FOR ALL THE COMMENTS. I WOULD LIKE TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER IS AMY - WHO WOULD LIKE A GIFT CARD TO HELP HER BUY SOME THINGS FROM HER DAMAGED HOME FROM HURRICANE IRMA. PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL!

How to Take Control of the Holidays

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The holidays are upon us, and if you are like most of the women I know, you are already stressing out. Even the American Psychological Association have studied the stress of the holidays on women in particular. According to their findings, “Women say they have a harder time relaxing during the holidays and are more likely to take on all of the tasks associated with family celebrations, such as shopping, cooking, and cleaning.” Sound familiar?

If so, you are not alone! They even made a film about this exact thing last year called Bad Moms 2. The film is all about how to take back control of the holiday season. Knowing that we are heading straight into what is the most stressful time of year for women, let’s talk about how to de-stress your holidays.

Manage your expectations.

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First, you need to give yourself a reality check. As much as we all love Insta-worthy holidays, we need to manage our expectations. The table settings may not look just like they did on Pinterest, but let’s choose to focus on getting the meal on the table and the family and friends gathered around it.

We all get caught up dreaming of perfect Christmas moments, and then we end up let down when reality doesn’t line up with our expectations. Instead, embrace the fun and the faults of the holidays. My biggest tip - Do not expect anything to be perfect.

Less is more.

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It is so easy to get caught up in the more, more, more mentality of the holiday season. There are so many events, so many decorations, and so many presents to buy. But, here’s the thing. When we just do more and more, we wind up loving the holidays less and less.

Attend fewer events and spend more time in your Christmas pajamas watching movies with the ones you love. Put up fewer decorations and feel less cluttered – and less overwhelmed when it is time to pack it all back up. Don’t go crazy buying presents. It’s better to buy something that will be well loved than a bunch of things that will only last a season.

Do what you love.

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If you want to take control of the holiday season, then do what you love. This also means not doing what you hate. So, if your family and friends want you to host and cook an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner and you despise cooking, just say no. Find a compromise, such as you will host and decorate, but someone else can cook the meal. If you love Black Friday shopping, then make it a priority to go! If you love to go look at Christmas lights, then add it to the calendar.

The point - Every yes is a no to something else, so choose wisely.

Have a plan. And a plan to toss your plans.

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If you don’t want to lose your sanity between now and the New Year, it is a good idea to have a plan. However, this is a plan written in pencil, not in permanent marker. Write down the events you want to attend foremost, and then see if you have space to add anything else to your busy holiday calendar. Make a Thanksgiving menu and plan your table settings in advance.

But, be prepared to make adjustments. Something will go wrong, and your plans will go out the window. If you go into the holidays with this in mind, you won’t melt down when it actually happens.

What are your tips for taking control of the holidays?